Okay, kids. I am five movies behind*, but I know the only one anyone actually cares about is Sherlock Holmes. I am okay with this! For you, I will discuss Holmes!
Oh, Guy Ritchie. The night before I saw Holmes I rewatched Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and between the two I discovered that, like so many other people, Ritchie is better when he has less money to work with. One of my favorite things about it is that, even though many many people die (“They’re all dead, Dave”), it’s creatively presented, with a distinct lack of gore. Why? The gore would have been too expensive.
I famously first saw Lock Stock at a press screening shortly after it was starting to accrue some festival buzz, could not convince anyone to go with me, but went anyway of course and wound up meeting Ritchie and both of the Jasons: Statham and Flemyng**. Clearly there was some fail happening back in… whenever it came out.
But anyway, point being, Lock Stock is awesome, and Holmes, though fun, is not awesome. It is also not even pretending to be literary, which is totally fine! What it is, really, is a steampunk action movie. I, however, am not really an action movie person, the Bourne movies & Hong Kong films starring Tony Leung and/or Andy Lau excepted, so I am maybe a little harder to impress.
The way the workings of Holmes’ mind are presented is okay, but frequently just slows down the pacing. In spite of one of them having a visible fiancee, Holmes & Watson are totally in love, for those of you who are concerned about that sort of thing. (You know who you are.) Robert Downey Jr & Jude Law are clearly having a blast, which is nice for them.
However, I soured a little on the whole project at about a third of the way in, when we learn that Rachel McAdams’ character is working for (dun dun dun) a professor. Oh, what is that smell? Just eau de sequel, which we will pour over your head by the end, in case you were dumb enough to miss it the first time.
Also, the whole thing could have been about twenty minutes shorter. But the end credits are beautiful. All in all, it’s okay. But I find it depressing when a lot of money is spent on an okay movie that could have been an awesome movie. And as usual, I can’t help wonder if the fact that it had three writers had something to do with it. Two writers are fantastic, but at three I start to get concerned.
* The other four are The Men Who Stare At Goats, True Grit, The Young Victoria, and The Wizard of Oz; thanks for asking.
**Flemyng who later appeared in of one of the most memorable sex scenes of all time, featured in The Red Violin.